Scots law (Scottish Gaelic: Lagh na h-Alba) is the legal system of Scotland. It is a hybrid or mixed legal system containing civil law and common law elements, that traces its roots to a number of different historical sources. Together with English law and Northern Irish law, it is one of the three legal systems of the United Kingdom.
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Early Scots law before the 12th century consisted of the different legal traditions of the various cultural groups who inhabited the country at the time, the Gaels in most of the country, with the Britons and Anglo-Saxons in some districts south of the Forth and with the Norse in the islands and north of the River Oykel. The introduction of feudalism from the 12th century and the expansion of the Kingdom of Scotland established the modern roots of Scots law, which was gradually influenced by other, especially Anglo-Norman and continental legal traditions. Although there was some indirect Roman law influence on Scots law, the direct influence of Roman law was slight up until around the 15th century. After this time, Roman law was often adopted in argument in court, in an adapted form, where there was no native Scots rule to settle a dispute; and Roman law was in this way partially received into Scots law.
Scots law recognises four sources of law: legislation, legal precedent, specific academic writings, and custom. Legislation affecting Scotland may be passed by the Scottish Parliament and the United Kingdom Parliament. Some legislation passed by the pre-1707 Parliament of Scotland is still also valid.
Since the Union with England Act 1707, Scotland has shared a legislature with England and Wales. Scotland retained a fundamentally different legal system from that south of the border, but the Union exerted English influence upon Scots law. Since the UK joined the European Union, Scots law has also been affected by European law under the Treaties of the European Union, the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights (entered into by members of the Council of Europe) and the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament which may pass legislation within all areas not reserved to Westminster, as detailed by the Scotland Act 1998.
All devolved Scots law is also legally required to keep in regulatory alignment with all future EU Law under the provisions of the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2020 after it was passed by the Scottish Parliament in December 2020. It received Royal assent on 29 January 2021 and came into operation on the same day.